Why Offshore Freelancing May Not Work For You
Outsourcing has firmly established itself as an extremely beneficial way of getting skilled professionals to carry out non-essential business functions at attractive low costs, thereby making the whole venture very profitable and cost-effective.
However, there is a catch here. Many companies in the UK and the US initially extensively offshore outsourced to freelancers in developing countries, most specifically, India. Freelancers were usually suitable for short-term projects; projects that didn't call for too much investment of time and resources from the client; projects that were low-cost; and, projects that had no scope for being scaled up.
However, after tasting success with the initial forays into outsourcing, companies were eager to sample more of the goodies offered by outsourcing. Unfortunately, a freelancer turned out to be unsuitable for long-term projects or those that required frequent and intensive client intervention.
So, here are some reasons why offshore freelancing may not work for you.
- A freelancer would most certainly not work for you if you are a company who is looking to outsource a long-running project like software development, database management or content writing. This is because a freelancer, by virtue of their long-distance location and limited accessibility, are wired to handle only short-term work since collaboration is not possible without advanced technology.
- Lack of regular communication is one of the frequent reasons why offshore freelancing projects often get derailed midway. Since a freelancer usually works from home, they have limited access to the modern means of communication. Communication, at the most, is restricted to emails or the occasional telephone call. The latest communication method like video conferencing is more likely to be available with a remote staffing company rather than an independently-operating freelancer.
- Data security. Offshore freelancing would probably not be the best form of outsourcing if large volumes of sensitive data or company-specific confidential information need to be exchanged during outsourcing. A freelancer is not likely to have the best data protection system in place.
- Professionalism. Freelancers are not really renowned for their professionalism, since they handle multiple clients and assignments and juggle neck-to-neck deadlines. Professionalism is bound to get diluted when it is being shared with more than one client. So, delays in meeting targets or even abandoning projects midway in favour of a more lucrative assignment are a fairly common occurrence.
- A home lacks the ambience of an office which is essential to promoting a professional work environment. So, offshore freelancing takes place in a highly informal setting, where there is no HR support or IT back-up to take care of problems and technical issues. If you wish to discuss issues of accountability or professionalism, you can do so only with the freelancer themselves and not a third supervising party.
- A client often feels powerless while offshore freelancing. This is because freelancer is usually a faceless entity, working from a remote location halfway across the globe. There is no regular communication, no supervision and no accountability. Once a project is outsourced to a freelancer all a client has to do is to wait till he receives the finished product.
In a nutshell, offshore outsourcing cannot work for you if you have a long-term project in mind, desire accountability and supervision and data security.